NEWHAVEN may not be the first place you associate with exotic food but a local busi-ness is thriving, thanks to a South African delicacy Biltong is a dried meat which South Africans gorge upon in their droves. It is the national snack and a national symbol. Now, an enterprising firm from Newhaven has managed the remarkable feat of selling the food back to the South Africans. Susman's Best Beef Biltong Company from Avis Way has been supplying biltong nationwide for years. Its founder and manager, Larry Susman, is a South African who arrived in Newhaven in the 1970's.
The company's customers were mostly ex-pat South Africans and tourists who were missing the taste of home.
However, Larry's biltong tasted so good that when they returned to South Africa Susman's began to receive orders from the homeland.
'The customers thought it was better quality than what they had at home - or so they said!' said Larry. So just what is it that makes biltong such a popular meat among his country-men? 'It has a unique taste, with parma ham or pastrami the closest - I can get to describing it. 'It's also used for a variety of purposes - . back home people eat it like they do crisps or peanuts but it can also be served with salad or put into a stew or curry' The meat is beggining to catch on in England with top department stores Harrods and Seifridges among the stockists. Local people are also developing a taste for it. 'I have plenty of local customers and sell all along the South Coast,' said Larry He moved to Newhaven with his English mother and has local roots in the area. The concept to produce the meat came when Larry found his favourite snack was not available in the area. 'Originally we made biltong for personal use but we just decided to sell it.' It proved to he an inspired idea. The company makes a ton of biltong a week arid now exports worldwide. More than 16,000 customers in Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and the US are all hooked on the meat. Now, thanks to Larry's business acumen, there will be a little bit of Newhaven in South Africa.